The first in a cheery series for developing readers, this colorful story is a pastry-fueled romp through the cutthroat world of mythological divas-to-be.
Louie the Unicorn is bored with his perfect life in Story Land. When an advertisement for the New York School of Performing Arts blows through the forest (rather like a fart), he guilt-trips his parents into giving their blessing, takes a silver rowboat to the Staten Island Ferry, and pursues his dreams of becoming a “supersized New York superstar.” After a brief cupcake-and-doughnut diversion, Louie befriends the other fairy-tale creatures at school: mermaid Miranda, Frank the troll (who brings out Louie’s troll-related prejudices), and Danny the faun. Louie also hero-worships heartthrob Arnie—who would be happy as the only unicorn in showbiz—and creates an off-site song-and-dance extravaganza despite Arnie’s attempts at sabotage. Large text is punctuated by purposely cutesy yet expressive drawings of white people and white-appearing mythological creatures (only one illustration includes two background characters with dark-shaded faces). Many of the drawings are superimposed over city photographs, and red text highlights periodic “B-u-u-rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp”s, song titles, and emotional outbursts. Louie’s tongue-in-cheek enthusiasm is manically upbeat, with an entertaining lack of self-awareness.
High-strung young drama queens can find a lot to love in this, and adults forced to read along may chuckle at the campy subtext. (Fantasy. 5-9)